SERVICE ALERT: Blommer Science Library will be closed on Monday, December 22.

or browse databases: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

You are here

Search

Research

Services

Libraries & Spaces

About

Information for:

You are here

Tilting at Windmills: Don Quixote at 400

Charles Marvin Fairchild Memorial Gallery
October 14, 2005
January 15, 2006


Tilting at Windmills: Don Quixote at 400
celebrates the four-hundredth anniversary of Part I of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel Cervantes, and is one of the few exhibitions in the United States to commemorate this milestone in the history of world literature. Tilting at Windmills: Don Quixote at 400 includes art and rare books from the Georgetown University Library's Special Collections division, including a series of engravings by eigteenth-century English master printmaker William Hogarth, ten embossed color etchings by Canadian artist Lucille Gilling, a color woodcut by Hans Alexander Mueller, a color wood engraving by Stanley Bate, and a lithograph by Czech artist Bohumil Krátký; and handsome editions of the novel, such as a 1780 set from Madrid and a nineteenth-century tome illustrated by Gustave Doré.

 


Don Quixote and the Prints Inspired by the Novel: An Introduction

by Roderick S. Quiroz


Popularity and Significance of the Novel

El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of Mancha), Part I published in 1605 and Part II in 1615, often is considered to be the greatest novel ever written. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Victor Hugo, Sir Walter Scott, and others have given it the highest praise. The German philosopher Friederich von Schelling considered Don Quixote and Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister to be the two greatest novels of all time.

Part I of Don Quixote had seven distinct editions, in Madrid, Lisbon, and Valencia, in1605. Cervantes knew of thirteen editions in his lifetime, published in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Italy. The first English edition dates from 1612.

The novel is rich in stylistic approaches, including even a false lead about its authorship, a comic ploy that anticipates later techniques by modern writers: In Chapter 9 of Part I, the author speaks of finding the manuscript of Don Quixote, written in Arabic, among old notebooks and papers offered for sale by a youth in Toledo; and claims that he had it translated into Spanish by a bilingual Moor, in exchange for fifty pounds of raisins and three bushels of wheat.

The work became the most frequently translated and reprinted in the histories of the world’s secular literature. Many hundreds of copies of the novel were shipped to America in the early 1600s. Indeed, the collection of Juan Sedó, of Barcelona, includes around 2000 editions, dating from 1605 to the mid 1900s, with translations into more than fifty languages, including such remote or unexpected tongues as macaronic Latin, Esperanto, Kashmiri, Gaelic, Basque, Mogul, Provençal, Tagalog, Basque, Japanese, Korean, and many others.

Don Quixote (modern spelling, Quijote) has inspired numerous musical compositions (such as the comic opera by Antoine Alexandre Henri Poinsinet and François Danican Philidor included in this exhibition, and works by Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel, Jules Massenet, Henry Purcell, Manuel de Falla, and others). The Spanish National Orchestra will be playing works based on Don Quixote in Mexico in October 2005.

Artistic works based on the novel include hundreds of fine prints, drawings, sculptures, and paintings, going back to the 1600s. These dwell on many aspects of the novel - the scores of varying episodes, characters, imagery, and special themes.

There is a total of 126 chapters in the novel (52 in Part I, 74 in Part II); and in the small format Aguilar edition (Madrid, 1963), almost every chapter is accompanied by one or more prints, dating from 1618 on. (A chronological discussion of these printmakers, century by century, will be found on pp. 129-141 of that edition.) Gustave Doré alone completed 370 illustrations, based on visits to the places that figure in the novel, and a few of which are shown in this exhibition. About half of these illustrations appear in the 1860 London edition, as published by Putnam in New York in 1863.

An account of the overall character of the work is beyond the purpose of this article. As everyone knows, humorous episodes abound; these will elicit laughter in its young readers (there have been many editions for children). But the humor often is touching and multi faceted in meaning, and older readers will smile and will reflect on the subtle philosophical and societal implications. As in the roughly 700 songs by Franz Schubert, who set to music poetic texts by more than one hundred writers, Don Quixote touches on a seemingly infinite range of human concerns and feelings, including friendship, the nature of love, tolerance, morality, religion, philosophy, aesthetics, criminality, and madness. For this writer, the most impressive aspect of Don Quixote is the attention given to the need for tolerance, including both religious tolerance and racial harmony.

The Theme of Tolerance

Tolerance as a theme is brought out most beautifully, I believe, in the extended episode of the Christian captive, beginning in Chapter 33, where we are first introduced to Zoraida, an attractive, devout Moorish woman. For this episode there are five prints accompanying the text, in the Aguilar edition. In the 1863 American edition (Putnam, New York), where all the illustrations are by Gustave Doré, there are six prints related to the same episode. Also noteworthy are illustrations of the early title pages in the six-volume Spanish edition of 1905, which celebrated the three-hundredth anniversary of the novel. In this episode, we learn that a Christian naval captain was captured in the Mediterranean area and held prisoner in North Africa. The largely open air prison is next to the house of a rich Moor, father of Zoraida. She becomes attracted to the Christian captive, and communicates with him by means of messages dropped from her window. The two are united, and with strong insistence from Zoraida they escape to Spain, not without some harrowing difficulties. (Doré contributes a beautiful print depicting an attack on their vessel by a French boat.) They finally arrive at a Spanish inn, she on a mule with the Christian man walking at her side. She wishes to be called "Maria," recalling the tales of a Christian servant who regaled her with accounts of the Virgin Mary. As with Joseph and Mary, there is no room at this Spanish inn, although Dorotea, a prominent figure in the novel, welcomes her and provides hospitality. At the inn, the Christian captain relates his story to Don Quixote and others with him.

The degree of tolerance between Christians and Moors in Spain varied strongly from the time of the Moorish invasion (711 C.E.) to the taking of Granada (1492) and on the expulsion of the Moors around 1600. A beautiful graphic illustration of racial compatibility in Spain in medieval times is the illuminated miniature from the great document, the Cantigas de Santa Maria (ca. 1270), which shows two musicians making music together, one Christian and the other Moorish. The history of "convivencia" (harmonious living) in Spain is long and complex. There were ups and downs in Christian Moorish relations from the year 711 up to the time of Cervantes. But scholars have concluded that in the early centuries when the Moors dominated Spain, there was a relatively high degree of Moorish tolerance of the Christians. From about 1300 on, as the Christians recovered more and more of Spain, there generally was increasing intolerance of the Moors.

Since the Moorish expulsion occurred around the time that Cervantes was writing the novel, his depiction of compatibility between the Christian captive and Zoraida is especially daring. It also may be of interest to note that, in the novel, there is an episode involving a morisco (a Moor who lingered on in Spain), only to be expelled in 1609. In this rather humorous story, found in Part II of the novel, the morisco, Ricote, had returned from Germany, fancifully dressed in the French manner, and seeks out Don Quixote’s sidekick Sancho Panza, his former Christian friend of earlier days. Ricote offers him a meal of typically Spanish food, including ham and the dressings, obviously in the hope that he will not be "profiled" as a Moor. Sancho is delighted to encounter and welcome his old friend, in their two-way demonstration of their old-time spirit of tolerance.

Roderick S. Quiroz is a meteorologist, scholar of Spanish literature, and collector and connoisseur of fine prints and other works of art. A World War II-era veteran of the U.S. Air Force and career scientist with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration until his retirement in 1985, Mr. Quiroz received his M.S. in Spanish Literature from Georgetown University in 1991. He is the co-author of The Lithographs of Prentiss Taylor: A Catalogue Raisonné, and numerous articles for the Washington Print Club Quarterly. He has been a generous donor to the Georgetown University Library of works by Prentiss Taylor and other artists. This article was based largely on an essay by the writer prepared at Georgetown University in 1993, titled "El moro en Las cantigas de Santa Maria: una nueva perspectiva" ("The Moor in Las cantigas de Santa Maria: a New Perspective"), and on data from the Aguilar edition of 1963 (described in the text).

Illustrations: top: Windmills by Lucille Gilling (1905-1997), from A Portfolio of Ten Etchings by Lucille Gilling based on Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes (Willowdale, Ontario: The Studio, 1968); color etching; ed. 14/100; 24.8 x 21.3 cm; Georgetown University Fine Print Collection; lower: Tilting at Windmills by (Paul) Gustave Doré (1832-1883), from The History of Don Quixote by Cervantes, ed. J. W. Clark, and a biographical notice of Cervantes by T. Teignmouth Shore; illus. by (Paul) Gustave Doré (New York: P.F. Collier, 1863).

Lauinger Library has in its collection nearly four hundred items related to Don Quixote, including translations of the novel; scholarly studies; video recordings of dramatic productions, the musical, and lectures; sound recordings of music inspired by the great novel; and the works of art and rare books in this exhibition.



The Knighting


Windmills


The Biscayan


Maritornes


Sancho Tossed


The Convict


Dulcinea


Flight of Clavileno


Sancho’s Judgment


The Return

Portfolio of Ten Etchings
Lucille Gilling (b. 1905 Hamilton, Missouri; d. 1997 Toronto)
Willowdale, Ontario: The Studio
1968
Color etchings; 14/100
From plates approximately 25 x 21 cm
Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division

Lucille Gilling began her art studies at the Kansas City Art Institute. After graduating, she continued her art training overseas in Paris, Italy, and England, where she met and married her second husband, a Canadian military officer, in 1942. After the war they moved to Ontario, where Gilling studied etching under the noted artists Nicholas Hornyansky and Guillermo Silva Santamaria. She joined the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1958 and exhibited her work in several galleries in the environs of Toronto. In 1966, Gilling created a portfolio of ten color etchings based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the success of which led her to undertake this second literary-inspired portfolio, on Cervantes’ Don Quixote in 1968. Her Don Quixote was exhibited at the Houston Galleria in 1972. Gilling’s autobiography, Bright Shines the Sunlight, was published in London in 1986.

El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha; edited by the Spanish Royal Academy
Madrid: Don Ibarra Impresor de Cámara de S.M. y de la Real Academia
1780
Georgetown University Library, Rare Books Division

Commissioned by the Real Academia de la Lengua in Madrid, and produced by the preeminent eighteenth century publisher Joaquín Ibarra y Martín (1728-85), this is one of the finest early editions of Cervantes’s masterpiece. With this elaborate, critical edition, the Academia decisively embraced Cervantes’s epic as a classic of Spanish literature and culture, well after its critical reception in England and France.

Volume I (unfortunately, missing from Georgetown’s holdings) contains an introduction with a biography of the author, an analysis of the novel, and a chronological outline of the adventures and exploits of the wandering Don. The volume also features a double-page map of Spain, and an engraved portrait of Cervantes. The four-volume set is embellished by engraved frontispieces and thirty-one full-page engravings after drawings by various artists including Antonio Carnicero, José del Castillo, and Gregorio Ferro. Printed on rich, heavy paper, by the finest artists and artisans of the day, it is a monument of Spanish printing and book production.

The frontispiece to volumes I and II, shown here, reveals the heroic knight about to be crowned by a hovering Cupid. The books burning in the left corner may be an allusion to the anti-clerical sentiment of the reign of Charles III, with the substitution of a goat-devil for the curate who burned Quixote's books of knight-errantry in Part 1, chapter 6 of the novel. The lion beside him is a reference to chapter 17 of Part 2, when the Don is made “Knight of the Lions,” after his perceived triumph over a caged lion. The woman attired as a jester to his right, an allegorical representation of folly, holds a mirror to his face bearing the image of Dulcinea. Rachel Schmidt explains in Critical Images: The Canonization of Don Quixote Through Illustrated Editions of the Eighteenth Century (Montréal, Ithaca: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999), how this frontispiece parodies the traditional memorializing devices of contemporary visual allegory. This mock-heroic parody, in keeping with the befuddled delusions of the Don, seems a fitting subversion of the traditional use of allegory to elevate the author or patron on a book’s frontispiece.


The Adventure of Mambrino's Helmet


The Freeing of the Galley Slaves


Don Quixote and the Knight of the Rock


The Curate and the Barber Disguising Themselves

Engravings for Don Quixote; commissioned by John, Viscount Carteret
William Hogarth (b. 1697 London, d. 1764 London)
c. 1738
Approx. 22 x 17 cm each
Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division

William Hogarth, the preëminent satirist of eighteenth century British society, submitted six engravings for the 1738 edition of Don Quixote published by J. and R. Tonson, as commissioned by John, Viscount Carteret. His illustrations, however, were not included in that publication, but those of another artist, John Vanderbank, were. It is not known exactly why the Hogarth works were rejected, whether the artist did not appreciate Carteret's control over the project; or whether Carteret and the publishers favored the more passive drawings by Vanderbank, which often presented a more subtle interpretation of the narrative.

The Hogarth plates, purchased by Tonson, were acquired by print publisher John Boydell and published by him in 1790, as well as by the engraver William Heath in 1822.

Georgetown University Library owns four of the six engravings, titled above. The other two are: The Funeral of Chrysostom and Quixote Being Cared for by the Innkeeper’s Wife and Daughter. All scenes are from Part 1 of the novel.

The History of Don Quixote by Cervantes; edited by J. W. Clark
Paul Gustave Doré (b. 1832, Strasbourg; d. 1883, Paris)
London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin
1864
Georgetown University Library, Rare Books Division

The prolific, virtuoso etcher and engraver Gustave Doré completed illustrations for several classic works of literature, including La Commedia by Dante Alighieri, Paradise Lost by John Milton, and The Bible. The approximately 180 illustrations eventually published for Don Quixote in 1864 are among Doré's most famous, and have been reproduced in editions in a number of languages. This edition is open to Doré's depiction of Don Quixote's reference to "a great lake of pitch, boiling hot, and swimming and writhing about in it, a swirling mass of serpents, snakes, lizards, and many other kinds of grisly and savage creatures..." during his argument with the canon, from chapter 50 of Part 1.

Cervantes describes Don Quixote as "about fifty years of age, of a sturdy constitution, but wizened and gaunt-featured...." Doré's image of the knight-errant as an elderly, haggard man with a long beard has had wide influence on later artistic representations, as can be seen from other illustrations in the exhibition. According to The Cervantes Encyclopedia, "Doré's romantic vision of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, together with his superb evocation of the legendary world of chivalry, have made this the single most reprinted and imitated set of graphic interpretations of Miguel Cervantes' novel." (Howard Mancing, The Cervantes Encyclopedia, Volume 1: A-K [Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004], 247.)

The History of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of la Mancha; translated by P. A. Motteux
Adolpe Lalauze (b. 1838 Rive-de-Gier, France; d. 1906 Milly, France)
Edinburgh: William Paterson
1879-1884
Georgetown University Library, Rare Books Division

This frontispiece portrait by French engraver Adolpe Lalauze is based on various earlier prototypes, all derived from the presumed portrait of Cervantes attributed to Juan de Jáuregui (c. 1570 - 1640) in the Real Academia Española (Spanish Royal Academy) in Madrid. Lalauze, winner of several medals at the annual Paris Salon exhibitions and Chevalier of France's Legion of Honor, engraved thirty-seven plates for this four-volume edition published in Edinburgh in 1879.

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha; translated and with an introduction by John Ormsby
Enric-Cristófol Ricart (b. 1893 Barcelona; d. 1960 Barcelona)
Barcelona: Oliva de Vilanova for the Limited Editions Club
1933
Ed. 51/1500; signed on colophon
Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division, Gift of Mary Jane Donner in honor of the Library's bicentennial

This two-volume Don Quixote was one of the early issues from the Limited Editions Club, founded during the Great Depression by publisher George Macy (1900 - 1956) to provide quality cloth editions of classic and important contemporary books, with fine illustrations, by annual subscription for a middle-class market. Macy would contract with printers around the world to produce the books; Don Quixote was printed by Oliva de Vilanova of Barcelona, which hired noted Barcelona portraitist and illustrator Enric-Cristófol Ricart. This engraving facing the title page shows Ricart's Art Deco interpretation of the famous "imagination" scene from chapter 1, represented elsewhere in this exhibition with works by Doré and Mueller. A catalogue raisonné of Ricart's prints was published in 1988.

Bookplate
Bohumil Krátký (b. 1913, Prague)
1980
Color lithographic bookplate
10.5 x 8 cm

Bohumil Krátký is a Czech lithographer, illustrator, and designer of fine ex libris, or book plates. He studied at l'École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. After the Second World War, Krátký settled permanently in his wife's hometown of Telc, south of Prague. Beginning in 1968 with the "Prague Spring" invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and its allies, Krátký became an active protestor against those forces, and as a result was banned from creating or exhibiting art works for many years. Today he is a highly esteemed and actively collected graphic artist, and is the recipient of numerous national and international prizes. He has created more than 470 ex libris prints, including a series of twelve based on Don Quixote, and has exhibited throughout Europe, India, and Japan.

Don Quixote; translated by Walter Starkie, with introduction by Edward H. Friedman
New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc./Signet Classic
2001
Collection of David C. Alan

After four centuries, editions of Don Quixote continue to be issued. This Signet Classic paperback, with a new introduction from 2001, features on its cover a masterful 1955 ink drawing by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), now in le Musée d'art et d'histoire in Saint-Denis, France. The incongruous pair of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza has become so famous that these abstract silhouettes (against a backdrop of the tell-tale windmills) are immediately recognizable.

Most of the quotations from Don Quixote in this exhibition have been taken from this translation.

The Story of Don Quixote; edited by Arvid Paulson and Clayton Edwards
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis
New York: Stokes
1922
Anonymous private collection

This condensed, juvenile edition of Don Quixote by Arvid Paulson and Clayton Edwards was selected for its attractive cover paste-down illustration. The book interior includes four color plates by Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis, New York illustrators who worked together on more than a dozen children's books in the first half of the twentieth century. Both women had studied at the Art Students League in New York and in Paris.

Don Quichotte de la Manche
Henri (Henry) Morin (b. 1873 Strasbourg; d. 1961)
Paris: H. Laurens
c. 1935
Anonymous private collection

Henry Morin was born in Strasbourg and trained at l'Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In his thirties, the artist became an established illustrator of children's books, and from 1897 to 1925 was one of the main contributing artists of the popular serial Mon Journal. Later in his career Morin became devoted to religious subjects and designed stained glass windows for various churches, most notably those of the Le Mans cathedral southwest of Paris.

 

Don Quixote
Stanley Bate (b. 1903, Nashville; d. 1972, Craryville, New York)
1951
Color wood engraving, ed. 150
29.7 x 21.2 cm
Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division

This intriguing abstract line representation of Don Quixote with his lance atop his faithful steed Rocinante was the "membership edition" for the Albany Print Club in 1951. In the presentation essay for the print, Bate's Don Quixote was said to be "the sad old gentleman distilled to essence." One can speculate on the influence of the "wire sculptures" of Alexander Calder (1898-1976) in conceiving the work's formal approach.

Don Quixote
Hans Alexander Mueller (b. 1888, Nordhausen, Germany; d. 1963, New Milford, Connecticut)
1950
Color woodcut, ed. 260
32.6 x 24.2 cm
Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division

Hans Alexander Mueller was one of several prominent masters of woodcut and wood-engraving in Germany who were influential in the past century. (Among his protégés was the young Lynd Ward (1905-1985), who introduced the wood-engraved wordless novel to the United States, and who was the subject of the previous Fairchild Gallery exhibition, Lynd Ward: A Centennial Appreciation.) Mueller provided forty-six color wood-engraved illustrations for the 1941 New York/Random House edition of a translation of Don Quixote by Peter Anthony (né Pierre Antoine) Motteux (1660-1718) (see also in this exhibition the 1879 Edinburgh/William Paterson edition of Motteux). Of Mueller's work, editor and critic Edwin Seaver (1900-1987) wrote in the foreword, "Not since the drawings of Gustave Doré, it seems to me, have there been any illustrations for Don Quixote that can match these...."

For his popular 1939 text Woodcuts & Wood Engravings: How I Make Them (New York: Pynson Printers, 1939), Mueller used one of his illustrations being prepared for the 1941 Don Quixote to demonstrate how the midtone (color) plate and the black plate (for shadows and details) combine against the white paper to produce images well-defined in volume and depth.

In 1950, a few years before the semiseptcentennial of Don Quixote, Mueller was commissioned by the Cleveland Print Club to produce a "membership edition" of a scene from the novel. (Print clubs often offer, as a benefit of membership, an original commissioned work available exclusively to members.) Mueller produced this charming two-color woodcut, representing as a "castle in the sky" the flurry of imagination that preceded Don Quixote's quest; his first adventure as a "knight-errant" was to be in chapter 2 at the inn, which he saw as "a castle with four turrets, the pinnacles of which were of glittering silver...."*

* Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, The first part of the life and achievements of the renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha; trans. Peter Motteux (New York: Random House, 1941).

Cervantes Memorial on the Façade of the Trinitarian Convent, Madrid
Luis Sanchez Martinez (b. 1913, Bilbao)
1961
Watercolor
26.5 x 20 cm
Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division, Francis L. Fadner, S.J., Collection

Plaza de España, Madrid, with Cervantes monument; Edificio de España behind
Luis Sanchez Martinez (b. 1913, Bilbao)
1961
Watercolor
19 x 25.2 cm
Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division, Francis L. Fadner, S.J., Collection

Cervantes fought against the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, and joined his brother in the company of Manuel Ponce de Leon a year later. The Trinitarian Friars secured Cervantes' release from an Algerian prison with the sum of 500 gold pieces in 1580, after five years' incarceration and four escape attempts. Close to the end of his life, Cervantes became a member of the order of San Francisco. The Franciscans buried don Miguel de Cervantes, by then known as "the prince of the ingenious," in a Trinitarian convent in Madrid on April 23, 1616. Coincidentally, this was the same day as Shakespeare's death at Stratford-Upon-Avon in England. It often is speculated that the bard could have read Part I of Don Quixote, as the first English translation by Thomas Shelton was published in 1612.

These watercolor views are of the Trinitarian convent with the memorial on its façade to Cervantes, and the Cervantes monument on the Plaza de España in Madrid. The watercolors were acquired by Georgetown University's Francis L. Fadner, S.J. (1910-1987), Third Regent of the University's School of Foreign Service and professor of history, during one of his sojourns in Spain. They are by a Spanish artist born in Bilbao, who founded an artists' society in that city called Nueva Bohemia; he was a noted painter of landscape and still-life.

The Cervantes monument in Madrid's Plaza de España, with its statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, was created by Lorenzo Coullaut-Valera in 1928-30. A popular and prolific Spanish sculptor, C.-Valera executed a number of monuments in parks and gardens throughout Madrid and Seville, where he was born in 1876.

Sancho Pança Dans Son Isle
François-André Danican Philidor (b. 1726, Dreux, France; d. 1795, London), Antoine Alexandre Henri Poinsinet (b. 1735, Fontainebleau; d. 1769, Córdoba)
c. 1762
Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division

François-André Danican Philidor was an early composer of "comic operas," who collaborated with librettist Antoine Alexandre Henri Poinsinet on a number of Philidor's more commercially and artistically successful works. Sancho Pança Dans Son Isle is based on the episode from chapter 45 of Part 2 of Don Quixote in which the knight-errant's sidekick is made governor of the island of Barataria. This opera is one of several works in the exhibition that highlight the continuing influence of Don Quixote on not only the visual arts, but in other art forms as well.

Reference: Grove Music Online

Original Cast: Man of La Mancha soundtrack
Al Hirschfeld
1966
Phonographic disc
Collection of David C. Alan
Man of La Mancha playbill
American National Theatre and Academy
1965
Collection of David C. Alan

The beloved Broadway musical Man of La Mancha had 2,328 performances in an original run of nearly six years, and in 1972 was made into a motion picture. Man of La Mancha presented a challenging dramatic concept, with the leading role alternating between the character Don Quixote and the author Miguel Cervantes.

The cover of the theatre program featured the Gustave Doré illustration of Don Quixote in the first chapter absorbing the books of chivalry that had become his obsession: "His imagination became filled with a host of fancies he had read in his books - enchantments, quarrels, battles, challenges, wounds, courtships, loves, tortures, and many other absurdities. So true did all this phantasmagoria from books appear to him that in his mind he accounted no history of the world more authentic." Declaring that "No character in literature has been as copiously illustrated as the MAN OF LA MANCHA," the program featured a spread of some of the better-known depictions, including by Honoré Daumier (1808-79) and the William Hogarth Adventure of Mambrino's Helmet shown in this exhibition, along with original illustrations.

Famed caricaturist Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003), who specialized in entertainment figures, drew the illustration for the cover of the best-selling soundtrack from the musical, which featured Richard Kiley (Don Quixote), Joan Diener (Aldonza), and Irving Jacobson (Sancho Panza).

The foolish knight-errant Don Quixote became a nearly triumphant figure in the instant-classic hit from the show, "The Impossible Dream":

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go....

And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with the last of his courage,
To reach the unreachable stars!

As critic Brooks Atkinson notes in the program, "Although Don Quixote is a fool, no one can afford to be complacent about him. In worldly terms his foolishness consists of being an idealist. There is a touch of nobility behind the clown's mask."

Playbill for the Bolshoi Ballet production of Don Quixote
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts; Vienna, Virginia
Playbill for the Suzanne Farrell Ballet production of Don Quixote
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Washington, D.C.

Although there were ballet productions of Don Quixote as early as 1740 with a staging in Vienna by Franz Hilverding, the version most popularly performed today had its debut at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater in 1869. The choreographer and librettist, Marius Petipa created a four-act ballet to music by Ludwig Minkus incorporating the more comic episodes from the second part of Cervantes' novel featuring the coquettish innkeeper's daughter Quiteria (known in the ballet by the Russian Kitri), and her suitor, a barber named Basilio. The Petipa work quickly became a classic of both the Bolshoi Theatre and the Kirov Theatre of Leningrad; and was re-staged with subtle changes by Aleksandr Gorsky in 1906, and others throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Don Quixote was performed outside of Russia in a two-act version, danced by Anna Pavlova and her company, first in England in 1924. The complete, full-length ballet was staged in the West first in 1962 by England's Ballet Rambert.

The scenes in the ballet open with a traditional square in Barcelona, and move on to a Gypsy camp and a fantasy sequence in which Don Quixote falls asleep and dreams of Dulcinea in her garden. The elaborate sets and designs typically include live horses and/or donkeys in some of the scenes. The final act is a grand classical wedding at the court of a Duke and Duchess, presided over by the Don and his faithful partner Sancho Panza. Two of the greatest dancers of the twentieth century, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, have immortalized the role of Basilio, while ballerinas from Anna Pavlova and Maya Plisetskaya to Gelsey Kirkland have triumphed as Kitri.

The Russian-born choreographer George Balanchine, founder of the New York City Ballet, was inspired by his favorite muse, the young ballerina Suzanne Farrell, to create an entirely new staging of Don Quixote with a commissioned score by Nicolas Nabokov. As a youth, Balanchine had performed in the Petipa/Minkus version at the Marynisky Theater in 1916. At his premier in 1965, Balanchine himself appeared as the Don, with Suzanne Farrell as Dulcinea. Unlike the joyous Petipa production, his version of the story highlights the Don's self-deluding fantasies and alienation from society. At the center of the work is his idealized love for the pure and beautiful Dulcinea, whom he idolizes as his savior. Her ethereal performance in this role established Farrell as a star and she was promoted to the rank of principal dancer. After her retirement in 1989 and subsequent rift with Balanchine's successor, Farrell established a chamber troupe with the financial backing of Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center, where her company revived the forty-year-old ballet in a performance this past summer.

Acknowledgments: 


The following persons are acknowledged for their support of and assistance with this exhibition:
Roderick S. Quiroz M.S. '91
Joseph A. Haller, S.J., Curator Emeritus
George M. Barringer, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections
Prof. Barbara Mujica, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Karen H. O'Connell, Reference Librarian
David Hagen, Graphic Artist
Jennifer Taylor Louchheim '06, intern
Jan Halaska '06

Matting by Frames By Rebecca, Silver Spring, Maryland